School Resource Officers Serve As Counselors As Well As Protectors
Just about everyone at Dublin Coffman High School knows school resource officer, or SRO, Sara Hall. She's one of seven full time police officers positioned in Dublin's three high schools and four middle schools.
First and foremost, they are law enforcers-- and now more than ever-- in the spotlight because of school shootings. Officer Hall says she and her colleagues are trained and prepared to confront and contain any threat.
"The school's role would be protect the kids, account for them get them to safety where my role would then change from moving toward the shooter and stopping the violence at that point I have no other job,” said Hall.
Dublin Coffman Principal Mike Ulring told 10TV that he cannot imagine not having a full-time police officer in the building.
“Dublin police are fantastic, but when you don’t have a relationship, it just takes another step or layer to try to get help. With Officer Hall here, she knows all the kids, has the
background on all the kids so it helps her in the job and it makes it easier for us because we don’t have to brief her on every situation,” added Ulring.
For the most part, school days for SRO Hall are relatively drama-free. She spends much of the day outside of her office, patrolling and monitoring problems, including truancy and tardiness, along with an occasional fight.
“If we have a group of students that maybe they’re not getting along or if they’re upset about something it helps to work with them ahead of time."
There are demands of the SRO you might not expect - their role as counselor, for example. One secret of the SRO is that our kids talk to her about anything.
“It could be problems with a boyfriend or girlfriend. A lot of the usual teen drama, sometimes problems at home, sometimes about what has happened outside of school, sometimes they just need someone on their side a lot of times it could be just needing someone to listen.”
Another SRO secret is that cell phone usage is no longer the problem it once was because students are stepping up their use of social media.
“Social media has really changed everything so where rumors can spread in about 30 seconds and be halfway across the world and all across town, so we do try to educate them to know when you put something on the internet, it’s there forever even if you erase it."
The SRO's final secret is in the form of advice: parents should remember they are not their child's friend,
"You're their parent but I think it's good to have a friendly ear for your son or daughter would feel safe in letting know what's going on in their life."